In January I visited several cities in Texas to explore some of the state’s history and it’s aviation past. While I could only scratch the surface during my short visit to Dallas, I found three unique museums that celebrate history in Dallas, Texas.
SIXTH FLOOR MUSEUM AT DEALEY PLAZA
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza follows the events of a black day in U.S. history, November 22, 1963, and the assassination of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. As Kennedy’s procession passed the Texas School Book Depository building, shots rang out striking the President and Governor John Connally who was seated in front of the President. Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots from an open window from the sixth floor of the Depository building. Chaos ensued as Kennedy’s car was rushed to Parkland Hospital where the President was declared dead. Oswald would escape the Depository lockdown then later shoot policeman, J.D. Tippit before being arrested at the Texas Theater. Once in police custody, Oswald would be shot and killed by Jack Ruby during his transfer while in police hands.
The Sixth Floor Museum preserved the area where Oswald fired the fatal shots. Here visitors walk through the event from Kennedy’s arrival in Dallas to the investigation of the incident through the findings of the Warren Commission report. On the Sixth Floor, you can view the window and the street below where Oswald’s shots changed the world.
INVESTIGATION and ARTIFACTS FROM THE SHOOTNG
Artifacts surround the exhibit space including, a replica of the rifle Oswald used, Oswald’s wedding ring and the Zapruder film of the assassination as well as many others.
At the Sixth Street Museum, you will walk in the footsteps of history. Learn more about JFK’s Presidential Library here.
FRONTIERS OF FLIGHT
For thirty years the Frontiers of Flight Museum has delighted visitors with its aviation displays as well as the massive collection of George Haddaway’s of some thirty-five thousand aviation artifacts. The museum began at Love Field on the mezzanine then relocated in 2004 to an enormous 100,000 square foot facility near Love Field. I had the pleasure of a tour with Dan Steelman, VP of Collections and Exhibits.
Here you will delight in viewing over 30 aircraft, some suspended from above, from the Wright Flyer to Apollo 7 capsule.
The model shop is a large draw for adults and kids alike. The talented craftsmen have outdone themselves with the detailed aircraft on display. One volunteer and modeler, Hal Schneider, who is 90 years old, is working on a Vietnam era plane as a gift for a fellow member. One of my favorite planes, the Gee Bee Model R, is featured prominently in the Air Racing display of the Golden Age of Aviation.
Another stand out model display is that of Master Modeler Al Duval’s 350 1/48 scale aircraft models. The craftsmanship of these planes is a testament to his 40 years in producing the models.
Southwest Airlines makes a landmark contribution to the museum with its cockpit simulator and static exhibit of a Southwest 737. Southwest’s signature plane serves as a unique display of the creation, and evolution of the airline. Herb Kelleher, the founder of Southwest, passed away on January 3, 2019, and Southwest is his legacy to the airline industry.
A large Braniff display is featured on the upper level of the main exhibit floor which was arranged by former employees of the airline. Braniff was unique in that it blended fashion, art, and transportation in one.
THE WORLD WARS
Visitors can walk through the aviation of both World War I and World War II. Here you will find aviation artifacts from both sides of the conflicts. The Vietnam and Korean Wars displays are presently under renovation.
One of the notable exhibits was that of Dirigible flight and the artifacts from the Hindenburg disaster of 1937. On display was the radioman’s chair from the Hindenburg which survived the disaster because the radio room was insulated. The silver cigarette case of Hindenburg Capitan Max Pruss is also part of the display.
ONE OF A KIND PLANES
Another aviation marvel on display and is on loan from the Smithsonian is the Chance Vought V-173, “Flying Pancake”. The all-wing experimental plane has a similar design to the present day Osprey. It was powered by a small 4 cylinder 80 hp engine. Charles Lindbergh flew the aircraft and was impressed with its design. The plans to continue the plane were scrapped after the war.
Frontier also plays host to some three hundred events each year and is one of most popular venues in Dallas. This remarkable and vast collection of aviation history is well worth your time when in Dallas and is easily accessible from Love Field.
CAVANUGH FLIGHT MUSEUM
Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison, Texas is a true flying aviation museum. The meticulously restored aircraft from World War One through the Vietnam era are actively flown and visitors can purchase flights in these most treasured aircraft.
This is a bucket list destination for some aviation enthusiasts. At Cavanaugh, you don’t have to imagine flying in the aircraft; here you can ride in a P-51 Mustang, T6 Texan, B-25 bomber, Stearman Biplane or a Korean War era helicopter. Flights in the vintage aircraft range from $300-$2000.00 depending on the plane.
Also featured at Cavanaugh is a stunning gallery of aviation artwork. Some of the pieces are signed by the artist as well as the pilots in the piece.
Embrace your inner pilot and take flight at Cavanaugh.